My Friend Smith
This is a curious book by the author. It does not surprise us, because it has a long school-life section, but then it goes on to describe in rather frightening detail the life of a young clerk in London, trying to survive on a miserable pittance, living in a cheap lodging-house, and trying to keep up socially with his contemporaries. He is loyal to his friends, and in particular to his friend Smith, whom he had met at school, which had been a school for troublesome and backward boys.
I think it rings very true. There is a foreword which is as enthusiastic as I am about the book. It still gives you a lot to think about. It was quite a true image even when I was young myself and trying to make my way in London, and from what I hear of the tribulations of the young, it is probably not far from the truth today.
Read the book yourself and see what you think.
REED, Talbot Baines (1852-93). English author of books for boys, born in London, the son of Sir Charles Reed (1819-91), chairman of the London School Board. He became head of his father's firm of typefounders, and wrote books on the history of printing (such as History of the Old English Letter-foundries (1887). His robust, moral, but entertaining school stories first appeared in the Boy's Own Paper. They include The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's (1881), The Master of the Shell (1887), and Cockhouse at Fellsgarth (1891).
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Hewlett-Packard scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner or a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 camera to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used TextBridge Pro 98 or ABBYY Finereader 7 or 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk
The PDF version is constructed from 300 dpi scans. To get best value set "Use Logical Page Numbers" to "ON" in Edit/Preferences/Page Display of your PDF viewer. To obtain the HTML file find the area on the left of this page which has PDF, HTML and TXT in it, and click on HTML. In this version the entire book appears in the one file, which also includes the style-sheet and any pictures, and is written in xhtml. The larger of the two TXT files is what you need to create an audiobook, using for instance Text Aloud MP3. The smaller of the two TXT files contains full instructions for doing so.
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